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Brain asymmetry modulates perception of biological motion in newborn chicks (Gallus gallus)

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Behavioural Brain Research
Publisher
Elsevier
Volume
290
Pages
1–7
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2015.04.032
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

Few light-points on the joints of a moving animal give the impression of biological motion (BM). Day-old chicks prefer BM to non-BM, suggesting a conserved predisposition to attend to moving animals. In humans and other mammals a network of regions, primarily in the right hemisphere, provides the neural substrate for BM perception. However, this has not been investigated in avians. In birds the information from each eye is mainly feeding to the contralateral hemisphere. To study brain asymmetry, we recorded the eye spontaneously used by chicks to inspect a BM stimulus. We also investigated the effect of lateralization following light exposure of the embryos. In Experiment 1, highly-lateralized chicks aligned with the apparent direction of motion only when they were exposed to a BM-stimulus moving rightward first, monitoring it with the left-eye-system. In Experiment 2 weakly-lateralized chicks did not show any behavioral asymmetry. Moreover, they counter aligned with the apparent direction of motion. Brain lateralization affects chicks behavior while processing and approaching a BM stimulus. Highly-lateralized chicks aligned their body with the apparent direction of the BM, a behavior akin to a following response, monitoring the stimulus preferentially with their left eye. This suggests a right hemisphere dominance in BM processing. Weakly-lateralized chicks counter-aligned with the apparent direction of the BM, facing it during interaction, and monitored it equally with both eyes. Environmental factors (light stimulation) seem to affect the development of lateralization, and consequently social behavior.

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